- Associated Press - Friday, October 9, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - The family of a 39-year-old man killed in a 2012 house fire is suing a community activist, accusing him of arranging for their son to live in a Springfield home that lacked safety features.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Greene County by the parents of Ronald Moore Jr., the Springfield News-Leader reports (https://sgfnow.co/1Lsas7z ). The lawsuit accuses the Rev. Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center of arranging for Moore to live in a home that lacked fire alarms.

Moore died in a fire at the home in October 2012. The house’s owner is also named in the lawsuit, which says Rice arranged for homeless veterans to rent rooms there.

Rice said Thursday that he wasn’t aware of the lawsuit and didn’t arrange for Moore to live in the home. He said he recalled Moore seeking shelter at his Springfield center, but that he lost contact with him.

“They are trying to acquire some money from someone someplace, somehow,” Rice said. “To file a lawsuit against someone that (he) stayed with months before that is rather sad and shocking.”

The lawsuit says the house didn’t have enough space for eight unrelated people and couldn’t safely provide that much electricity. The newspaper says investigators believe the fire was caused by extension cords underneath clothes and power strips plugged into one outlet.

Rice has clashed with the Springfield over housing the homeless. The city of St. Louis is trying to close his homeless shelter there, alleging that it violates city rules.


Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com

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